The 'W' is Silent
February 24, 2009 8:04 PM Subscribe
The 'w' in 'Keswick' is silent. So is the 'w' in 'Southwark'. And the 'h' in 'Pakenham'. Is there a name for this and is there a rule to apply it?
posted by awfurby to Writing & Language (36 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks to our colonial heritage there are many place names in Australia (and no doubt many other parts of the world) where names like 'Keswick' are pronounced 'Kezzick', yet more often than not I find I am bumping into people who aren't familiar with this pronunciation. For example, 'Crezzick' in Victoria is often now pronounced "CresWick". Similarly 'Fennick' Street in Hong Kong is usually pronounced 'FenWick' Street.
Anyway, whilst feeling slightly sad about the (seeming) decline of this pronunciation style(?), I was just wondering how you would actually say to someone "no, that word is an x word, the w/h is silent". Anyone know?